What Wisdom I’ve Gained…In All the Same Areas My Mother Did…

Mom and Grandma told me that “nothing jiggles” on a lady.  Or at least it shouldn’t.

At that time, the information was of no use to me, as I was 5’2″ and weighed 95 lbs. soaking wet.

I think you’d agree, time keeps slipping into the future.

Today, the opposite is true.  The absence of jiggle is also not any mark of a lady.  The presence of jiggle is not a way of separating the ladies from the women or broads.

I am also no longer 5’2″…

Fashion trended away from “leave a little something to the imagination”.

Fashion, that excellent slave–that terrible master.

Has driven culture to the point that Southern Living Magazine would devote a half page of copy space for a young writer to apologize and explain her reasons for appearing in ankle socks elsewhere in the issue*.  As if they would lose readers, if there were not some sort of editorial responsibility taken when a young woman keeps her toes clean and safe as she learns to fly on the trapeze.

I digress.

Discreet fashion choices that emphasize strengths and downplay weakness is out of the question.  Utility and appropriateness to the event or activity is relative.

Maybe it’s my home training, but I don’t think of the trends as my “right”.  If it shows me for what I am, I figure I don’t need to make my problem yours, and I cover myself. Vanity?  Heck, YEAH!!! But I’m leaving my struggle with chronic pain, depression, and gravy to your imagination.

My point?  Years ago, in an effort to prevent “jiggle” and “leave it to the imagination”, a woman had an arsenal of “FOUNDATIONS”.  The girdle has gone by the wayside.  Unstylish.  Unattractive.  Indicative of some sort of bondage….  Today, a young woman would never admit to wearing a girdle to cheat her way into a garment that is really made for a different body type.  Because they are a thing of the past.

Today, we have “shapers”.  Spanx.

Because those aren’t girdles.

Yes, they are.  Spanx are girdles.  Just say it.  Don’t apologize.

You are wearing Jane Jetson’s girdle.

There you go.  The emperor is now free to put his pants back on and look better in them.

 

*About 5 years ago, before Lindsey Biermann took over and turned it into Hipster Living. I subscribe and complain every month.  Mickey thinks it’s PMS.

 

 

Thirteen for ’13

I decided to limit my goals to 13.  I could list 100 and still not address all that needs overhauling in my life.  Little by little, I feel that I’ve let things get sloppy.  There is only one way to fix it.  Fix it.

GOALS

1) Silence.  No computer.  No people.  No kidding.  I’ve always had a value for silence.  Maybe because I am an only child, I “got it” from a very early age.  I don’t know.  Whatever’s the case, I haven’t been alone systematically for months.

Looks like: setting an alarm, no matter what time I go to bed.

Start: now.

Finish: none.  Death is the ultimate meditative silence.

2) Move in my strengths.  I actually know a thing or two, and in one or two areas, I am an expert.  A couple of months ago, I had a bit of a wake up call when my brain screamed,”You haven’t accomplished [thing I want] because you have no self-confidence to try.

Looks like: *sigh* making a list of my strengths and deciding in what ways to use those resources to encourage others.

Start: today.

Finish: the list, Feb 1.

3) Rock the kitchen.  The fact is, I avoid cooking food and feeding people.  It’s unloving.  It’s irresponsible.  It’s wasteful.

Looks like:  Keeping enough food in the house for people to eat. I am bad for getting home without enough snacks.  This drives my children to eat all the chips, pretzels, carrots, celery, crackers, cheese, lunch meat, green beans. Then, when meal time comes, there is no li’l side or something.  Planning dinners but also, *sigh* lunches.

Start: Today.

Finish: I can shop today.  Menu planning needs a longer finish date.  The best idea I’ve heard is to create a number of menus and rotate them.  Gimme….two weeks.

4) Get a choke hold on the family finances.  Choke. Hold.  I hope that’s not too harsh of imagery for my more delicate blog guest.  I checked us out on Global Rich List.  I have no excuse.

Looks like: Giving systematically to God’s Work (not always strictly to the local church). Saving like a mad woman.  Possibly refinancing.  Executing a will. Aggressive debt re-payment. It might be a service like Manilla.  I don’t love being here, but I know I am not alone in the world and this is my blog and I’m collecting on the accountability, real or imagined.

Start: Today

Finish: I need to set individual times on each one.  So, today’s action is that.  By night fall tonight, I will have estimated finish dates on these.

5) Get serious about writing. I could post a “knock-knock” joke a day on the blog for the rest of my life.  I could continue to analyze my navel lint for the next five years.  Am I writing or not?  Am I any good or not?

Looks like: submitting something for publication to a legitimate source like a magazine or newspaper or a nice website.

Start: yesterday, I bought The Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Yearbook 2013*.   It has a number of websites for writers.

Finish: Submit something by the end of February.

6) Love my blog.  It seems that when the adoption was final I lost my niche. I still believe in my blog’s name.  What-We-Can’t-Explain is a part of God’s Perfect Design for our lives.  That’s the best description of my life so far.  The greatest things that ever happened were because of what looked like a slip on a banana peel or a cosmic clothesline.

Looks like: a design, a blogging calendar, guest posting, and monetizing.  Creating my own or using others daily blog checklists.

Start: Dec 28–The design is underway. January 3 or something. I’ve been invited to guest post I have to accept.  I’m shy, see.

Finish: The design stuff I have no control over…could be in a week or two.  I will accept on the guest post today.

7) Hold out for quality.  My children have developed a general expectation of life that’s mediocre. I commented to someone the other day that kids will appreciate quality if that’s what they’re exposed to.  It was like I slapped my own face.

Looks like: Resisting the “I can do that later.”

Start: When I Dress for work this morning.

Finish: When they are educated and have found a husband or wife.

8) School. I am burnt out, but I’m not giving up. At least, public school kids are impelled. This is my gig. Only the ISP headmaster gets to tell me what to do.

Looks like: Getting all my paperwork prepared so when it’s due, there is less stress.  Planning the rest of the curriculum until graduation.  Looking at college degree plans so I know what they need.

Start: today.

Finish: Feb 1.

9) Take better care of myself.  (See #1)  I am a big girl.  No one is going to take care of my body and mind and spirit.  End of discussion.  Sure, I’d like to call this one exercise and eat right, but there might be one or two things I need before that.

Looks like: List of needs.  Plan to execute.

Start: When I started writing this post.

Deadline: one week.

10) Make a house that I’m not ashamed to have in the background of my photos.

Looks like: Fill the space in the attic that I gained access to when I was in there.  Give away junk.  Throw away trash.  Plan for Renovation work.

Start: this isn’t rocket science.  Tomorrow’s Saturday.

Finish:

11)  Stop waste in the house.  I think this is redundant, but, it is a mindset.  Instead of seeing my goals in terms of their worth in sacrifice, I get in the habit of medicating my feelings with a “pass”.  Well, $#!@’s out of hand.   Money, Time, Food, Utilities, Late Fees, Brain cells (we have watched some really stupid stuff).

Looks like: setting the example myself.  Shut up.  I hate my life.

Start: with shorter showers and not using the fixture with six bulbs unless I am putting on make-up.  List other areas and work on them.

Finish: When kids can run their own homes.

12)  The organization thing– create systems that make the obnoxious work easy.  Then USE THEM.  Even if it is a to-do list.  Making the list isn’t the objective.  It’s coming under the authority of the list that counts. Looks like: starting that list.

Start: in a minute.

Finish: when I no longer rely on a pile of paper to know what I need to do next.

13) Trust God– I’ve been mad at him over some things that happened really close together that we didn’t get a good outcome on.  But even before that, I was going on the feeling that He wasn’t really showing up for me.  I was having to do this all myself.  I know better.  I wouldn’t be even so much as alive without Him.  If He doesn’t have me now,  none of this really matters.

Looks like: Being joyful when I feel down and discouraged.  Not in a fake way, but acknowledging my feelings and listing what is still good or given in the midst.  There’s a blog challenge, but I think I might do it privately.

Start: ASAP

Finish: Every moment and start again.

 

*It’s a magazine… not Writer’s Market.  I couldn’t find a link.

 

 

 

Yesterday’s Music, Tomorrow’s Dance

If you’ve been following along, SOMEBODY hates a cliche.  That same somebody, is one.

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Maggie is having a mid-life crisis.

As we left our heroine, she was apologizing to the mother of a grown man for the accuracy of her remaining vision-the simple ability to discern an attractive adult male from a troll in the visual field.  Having forgotten almost entirely that the man in question is 10 months older than someone she’s been shooing away from her daughter for a year. She joined her 15 year-olds watching interviews on You Tube.*

Finally registering the distant sound of tires screeching and horns blaring.

HEY MAGGIE.  IT’S GONE.  THERE IS NO GOING BACK.  Step back and look, Darling.  No one will ever sing to you again about your flipping hair.  You worry about being that mom who is acting like her teen.  This is her.  She thought she’d take a break in the fun to raise some kids and then go back to charging around being spontaneous and irresistible.  Now her kids are approaching that time in their lives, she’s thinking she’ll just dust off her dance moves and join the fun.

Then she takes a new picture.

And. Sees. Her….  Jowls.

No, that wasn’t her, that was me.

Let’s tally up the score.

1) Face it.  You aren’t getting around like you used to.

2) You are old enough to be the ‘cool aunt’ for people who own their own homes.

3) You are appalled by little kids singing, “we-broke-up-but-Imma-stalk-you-or-you-stalk-me-K?” songs.

4) You keep thinking you’ll get back down to the weight you were in college.  No, Girl. You need that last ten pounds to fill in the loose skin.

5) Barring accident or injury, you are halfway to death.

6) Go quietly.

Back in my time, we had a saying,…

“Like hell.”

ACCIDENTAL MANIFESTO FOR THE SECOND ACT

Grow up. Stop thinking magic works like that.  Magic happens when the callouses on your work-hardened hands click together and make sparks.

You can’t be the cool grandma, when the time comes, if the baby gets scratched on your navel ring**.

Nothing is as sexy as dignity.

 

By the time you were your daughters’ age, you were managing your life.

Stop complaining about them expecting to be waited on, if you won’t let them do the job.

All your “reasons” are legit.  If you don’t move on, they become “excuses”.

Do NOT pass that on to your kids.

Quit being vain.  Take care of your appearance.

If you won’t exercise because you’re embarrassed, the arthritis will come for you.

If you won’t take care of your skin and hair because of money or time or “those products don’t really work”,

the mirror will not pull any punches. Don’t complain about the lighting.

Get over your boobs.  No one cares.

There’s no promise you’ll get to keep them.  Appreciate them.

Keep them under control, but don’t apologize.

Dance.

Work.

Feel Beautiful.

Love.

This second act, unlike the first, which was largely written by others, must be entered on purpose.

Head up, eyes open.  Because you learned in the first act what you can trip over.

Enter strong.

This is when the reviews are written.

 

* If you are dancing in the 100th row, with a phone you just fished out of Chelsea’s Sprite, the video sucks; be ashamed to upload it.

**This is not to say I’ve ruled out the navel ring, but there will be no ink and a granny must categorically never sport a bare midriff.

***photos have been removed because I can’t

 

 

 

 

 

 

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